Last Wednesday two days after carefully explaining new disciplinary rules to the students who attended my computer lab ministry I was forced to enforce those rules by leaving early, and shutting things down for a week.
On the way back I was reminded how much of ministry can be referred to as “parenting” since it involves taking a parenting role of children.
Surprisingly spiritual parenting doesn’t usually involve discipline, but having conversations with children that are ideally done by parents.
- Teaching them right from wrong
- Laying down ground-rules that can be followed up on
- and patiently explaining why they aren’t going to get what they want
In the last three days I’ve
- Had a fifteen minute conversation with a group of boys who stole fruit out of a bowl I had on the porch (I willingly give this out but they have to ask for it) then five minutes later came asking for water.
- talked with a young man who came to Church yesterday and (1) played video games downstairs after Sunday School (2) went to a nearby shop for cookies coming into the service 15 minutes late, (3) and laughed and talked during the sermon. Yet he confidently demanded a reward for coming
- And explained to a boy who was “too sick for school” that if he was well enough to come by my house for water and a story, he was well enough to be in class
The sad thing is the parents of these children in Saint Vincent want to be there explaining why what they’re doing is wrong. But most of them work all day, so the kids are left to either extended family members, or in extreme cases their friends. And while there may be a greater need for spiritual parenting in SVG, make no mistake, its in the States as well.
Conversations like this are frustrating and exhausting because you don’t see a change in the child’s life…and on days like last Wednesday when they celebrated as I drove away from computer lab (in their mind they won something) you want to be quit.
We keep going however because its in those conversations they understand how the world truly works.
We keep going because they need authority figures who will actually say no
We keep going because it shows we care
and we keep going because the good shepherd never tires of going to search for us